Tailgating at night: why?

<Photo of a bumblebee on lavendar in St Jean de Sixt, France>Isn’t this a lovely photo of a bumble bee in my lavender plant earlier this year — right here in St Jean de Sixt? Why is there a photo of a bee when the title of this post mentions tailgating? Because bees and lavender are both far more enjoyable to watch than tailgaters, and I have this great photo of a bee, but none of a tailgater (mainly because who has time to take a decent photo of a car immediately behind them when they’re already concentrating on that stressful situation).

Excuse my tardiness with writing lately: work is in its pre-winter busy stage, and I’ve been running out of time to do what I love most — write. Part of my job has involved driving between ski resorts. Not a bad job, obviously, as the views are spectacular most of the time.

Returning last night after dusk, I travelled along more mountainous roads and watched in horror as cars sat just a few metres away from other cars while driving at speeds above 70km/h.

I’ve written before about how the French seem keen on tailgating. I kind of understand the logic of sticking close to someone around mountainous roads so that the overtaker can get around the slower car as quickly as possible, but it’s not safe, and I refuse to fall into the habit.

I wonder if tailgaters realise that when they tailgate at night, they’re actually slowing down the person they’re trying to speed up. Having someone so close to the back of your car causes their lights to shine in all your mirrors, right? Okay, you can flick your rear vision onto ‘night’ mode, but the side mirrors flash the bright headlights right into your eyes. When this happens to me, the lights dazzle me, making it hard to see the dark road in front, causing me to slow down so I don’t have an accident.

So, French tailgaters (and any other nationality of tailgaters), do as ALL a favour and leave a bigger distance. You might even get to your destination quicker.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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5 comments on “Tailgating at night: why?
  1. Lesley says:

    The mechanics of driving are taught and we get through a test and think that that is it!
    Driving is an art that can make life/death situations less probable and some of us never get to drive using intellegence, curtesy and with less aggression.
    By driving to a system it’s better for other road users, your passengers, the vehicle, often your bank balance and your blood pressure.
    But this is an old hobby-horse of mine that you have just triggered.

  2. Wendy says:

    Some people are naturals and some are not but tailgating seems to be accepted once people get that used to sitting so close to the car in front. I detest being in those cars – my foot is always on the imaginary brake on the passenger side!

  3. Sally says:

    Try driving with UK plates if you want spectacular tailgating. I just slow down to a crawl if they insist.

  4. Ugh – yes, I hate this too! So dangerous, I wish people would be more mature on the road…it’s endangers all of us!

  5. Wendy says:

    Oh Sally, I remember my old UK car and the abuse I had. One guy spat in my car while I was buying bread! It’s ten times less stressful in a French-plated car.

    Breadispain, you took the words right out of my mouth.

About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by wendyhollands.com, my other site.

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